Why is defect management important?

How about £21 billion every year?

That is the estimated cost of avoidable errors in the UK construction industry according to the Get It Right initiative. This is a huge sum of money that directly cuts into builders’ profits as they have to perform remedial work to fix construction defects. Besides saving money, there are many other reasons why defect management is important in the construction industry. Let’s learn more.

It's important to manage construction defects, like this leaking pipe underground, before they cause structural damage or a lawsuit.

What is construction defect management?

A construction defect is any piece of work that fails to meet the required design, workmanship or material quality. Construction defect management is therefore about implementing measures that control for defects and nip any problems in the bud. It involves a combination of inspections, quality assurance practices and the use of technology to record information about defects. You can then ensure that defects and errors are resolved quickly and efficiently.

Learn more: What causes construction defects?

Why is defect management important?

Implementing defect management processes provides many benefits to the contractor, the architect and the customer. Here are nine reasons why defect management is important on your construction site:

  1. It is your legal duty

Most countries have national legislation which mandates that contractors complete projects in a workmanlike fashion. For example, in the UK the Defective Premises Act of 1972 requires all builders to complete work in a “workmanlike or, as the case may be, professional manner, with proper materials and so that as regards that work the dwelling will be fit for habitation when completed”.

  1. Impact on your reputation

If you deliver a project which contains multiple construction defects, this can seriously impact your company’s reputation. Not only does it slash your chances of winning repeat business from the developer behind the project, but it also means that previous customers may complain about you to other possible clients. Especially today, when people can easily leave negative reviews of your firm online, defect management processes are a worthwhile investment.

  1. Save time and money on remedial work

Did you know that defect remediation represents between 5% and 10% of the average building project’s costs? What is more, remedial work typically eats up around 7% of the average project’s timeline. By bringing these numbers down through defect management and quality assurance processes, you will save time and money.

  1. Avoid construction claims and litigation

Avoiding court is surely one of the most important reasons why defect management is important in construction. If a customer feels you have failed to deliver a product as agreed, they may well decide to sue you. Construction litigation not only takes up a lot of time and energy but will come with high legal fees too.

The cost of construction claims depends on your contract and the nature of the defects. But to get an idea, new build homeowners in the UK can claim up to £15,000 in compensation from developers who have produced faulty work.

  1. Reduce the risk of death or injury

Faulty installation and construction defects can potentially make a building dangerous to live or work in. This can be due to electrical faults, fire hazards or serious structural problems. Defect management plays a crucial role in identifying these risks and ensures that your customers are safe.

  1. Helps you stick to the project timeline

Another reason why defect management is important is that it can help you to keep to the project timeline. Failing to perform quality assurance means you might not be able to start subsequent phases until you fix earlier defects. This could delay the critical path of the project more severely than if you performed the remedial work immediately. By conducting regular quality assurance inspections, you identify construction defects early and can reallocate staff to repair mistakes as soon as possible.

  1. Better for the environment

If construction defects mean that you are forced to remove panels, equipment, walls or anything else, you will need to order more materials while sending more waste to landfill. This will increase the environmental footprint of your site while also increasing your spending on materials.

  1. Saves time for management teams

The management team at a construction company is normally extremely busy, juggling many different projects at the same time. If they must drop other tasks to visit a site and oversee repair work, this wastes their valuable time. Implementing sensible defect management procedures makes this much less necessary.

  1. Increase morale

Who doesn’t take pride in a job well done? By conducting frequent quality assurance to identify construction defects and fixing them early, you give all of your staff a real boost to morale.

Technology helps tackle construction defects

So why is defect management important to you? Whether it’s avoiding construction claims, saving money or reducing time spent fixing defects, quality assurance procedures can provide many benefits.

And it is now easier than ever to manage defects with technology like PlanRadar. The construction management app brings together multiple features that support quality assurance processes, including its building inspection tools, checklists for task assignment and snagging and defect management features.

To learn more about how PlanRadar helps you to manage defects in construction projects, try the app for free or contact us today.